Evaluation of Homelessness Prevention Activities in Scotland

Preventing and tackling homelessness is a priority for the Scottish Executive and prevention was a key concern of the Executive’s Homelessness Task Force (HTF). The Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 requires local authorities (LAs) to draw up strategies for tackling homelessness. Under official guidance, homelessness prevention should form a key theme within such strategies. Under this theme, strategies need to specify interventions which will support people at risk of losing accommodation. Prevention work will become more significant as local authorities respond to the target of abolishing the priority need distinction in 2012 as laid down in the Homelessness etc. (Scotland) Act 2003. With the first round of homelessness strategies being launched in 2003, LAs in Scotland are developing a range of prevention-oriented activities as detailed in their strategies. Despite this, only one authority took account of this work in assessing its capacity to meet future housing need as part of the recent exercise to assess local authorities’ readiness for the abolition of priority need by 2012. An evaluation of current activity which aids local authorities in identifying the impact that preventative work may have on capacity, and which provides guidance on good practice and future evaluation is therefore timely.

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